When a merger between two tech companies some 2o+ years brought Todd and Nadine Penny to the United States from England, they touched down in Denver, Colorado. They would go on to spend years of their life in the Rockies before eventually relocating to Minnesota for work reasons, which would ultimately push them into entrepreneurship.
“I’ve always been a die hard techie and a self-confessed nerd,” Todd Penny says, “And on the precipice of some big corporate changes, my wife and I set out to invent something, to build something new and different for ourselves.”
Fast forward to 2011 when the Penny’s began experimenting with a trendy type of technology known as the quick response, or QR Code. They considered a myriad of potential applications, only to find that many were already patented, cost-prohibitive, or flat out failed attempts.
“It was Nadine who came up with the best idea at the time, which was a lost and found luggage solution for consumers,” he recalls.
“And we actually flopped our first launch attempt, we had a lot of issues and the technology/company just wasn’t ready.”
But they didn’t give up, instead they regrouped, rebranded and relaunched in 2013 as GoCodes. By that time they had branched out to keyrings, fobs and stickers — trying different applications to see what would really stick.
And that’s when they had the aha and found their true product-market fit with commercial customers by shifting their model from B2C to B2B positioned as ‘GoCodes asset management’ — a complete patented solution combining the power of smartphones, QR codes and cloud-based software.
“When our demand started coming inbound, that’s when we knew we were on to something and really started selling,” Penny recalls. “We were providing value by not just as a backend asset tracking software, but by also designing, printing, and shipping the tags/labels. They wanted the whole solution and we thought…of course we can!”
The work didn’t get easier over the years that followed, but together they’ve managed to put the building blocks in place that has led to financial stability in 2016. With 350+ customers and counting, GoCodes is now on a mid six figure run rate and considers raising investment capital for the next stage of growth.
“It’s been an iterative journey that’s forsure,” Penny admits. “It’s like lifting an airplane, we go a few inches at a time between sales, product development, automation. Thankfully my better half is both a life and business partner.”